Thursday, May 20, 2010

New Library

Kingwood is a bedroom community just north of Houston.  It is considered a PUD..Planned Urban Development and thus did not grow orgnically but was planned as a communter community.

There are about 70,000 people living in Kingwoodwith a great mix of nationalities and earning levels...although some people don't believe that and see it as a white, upper middle class, Southern Baptist sort of place.

Harris County runs the Library even though Kingwood was incorporated into Houston (with much rancour) in the 1990's.  Recently Houston built Kingwood a new branch library and turned it over to Harris County for day to day operations.  You can see a picture of the new building here.

Our new library is a fabulous building but I am angry about a couple of things.

First off, our library has been closed on Sunday for a very long time... maybe since it opened in the 1980's BUT now the new facility is closed Wednesdays as well.  I don't get it.  Other branches around us are open  seven days a week with fewer visitors.  Why does Kingwood get hammered in the budget wars?  I wonder if a petition would do any good.

Secondly, in a community as large as this one I would think that there would be large support for the new facilty.  Before it was built, the local Library volunteer group (FOLK - Friends of the Library Kingwood) solicited donations from the public.  From $150.00 for a brick up to $25,000.00 to furnish a conference room, individuals and businesses could get memorialized in the new building.  I looked at the brick path way the other day and only about 10% of the bricks were taken.  Where's the support for such a vital part of our community?

Here's my contribution:

Yup, I bought a brick for Alex and the Girls.  A few times, when the weather was much cooler, we would walk to and from the Library.  Also, they loved stopping there early in the morning, to drop off books before they were marked late, just to see if they could escape from the car and roam the lovely grounds..  Lady Jane also adored the Library because, on hot days when we were out and about in the car, I would carry her into the library under my arm while I made my selections.

Sorry for the rant but I think a Library is vital to a community and that fact that mine seems short-changed, when it comes to operationg hours and visible community support, really irritates me.

I promise not to cotinue this rant in future posts.  

HOWEVER if I can get a petition together, I will let you know how it goes.    

3 comments:

heather fish said...

Here lots of vital programs are suffering major cuts/ being eliminated/ at risk of being eliminated. Including the one I work for which helps children with special health care needs. No easy answers in tough budget times. Libraries are important. Health care for medically complex kids is important. Aiy. Our daughter has 2 bricks in town... one at the local splash fountain and one at the new community center, both bought when she was a baby. Think it is fun they will always be there w/ her name in the town where she is growing up.

Linda S said...

Hi Alice,

Your blog post came to my attention through a Google Alert this morning and I wanted to share some of the information we’ve been discussing with Kingwood residents on the HCPL website. The economic downturn hit the Harris County budget just as it was time to hire staff for the new Kingwood Library and those positions were not funded. We are hoping that conditions will improve soon and we can staff this facility to needed levels and expand the hours. The current hours are not what we had planned and they are not intended to be permanent.

The Kingwood community has been incredibly generous throughout the process of building the new library, raising over $164,000 for the library and sponsoring most of the community rooms in the building, as you mentioned. The bricks that you see in front of the building now were just the first batch. Since they have to be installed, they are done in groups, rather than individually. You should soon see more surrounding Alex & the Girls.

If you would like to discuss any of this further, please give me a call or send me an email at lstevens@hcpl.net.

P.S. I love your dachshund harnesses – you’ve inspired me to try to make some for my two!

Linda Stevens
Coordinator of Marketing and Programming
Harris County Public Library
your pathway to knowledge
713-749-9000
www.hcpl.net

Janetta said...

i never, ever heard about the BRICK campaign, and no, I am not hiding under a rock.

We would have bought one. We have one in Midland MI